Reinventing the Quiet Time

I consider the daily quiet time to be the fundamental discipline  of the Christian life. I have no concept of what it means to live  the Christian life except that we start our day with the Bible on  our lap.  Not that there would not be exceptions, but the  normal thing to do on a normal day is to start the day with the  Bible on our lap.

I was taught the importance of the quiet time in High School.  This message was reinforced in college and seminary days. I worked  some with the Navigators who are real big in creating people who are  disciplined in their daily life in terms of spending time alone with  God.

In my early days as a Minister of Education I used the Navigators  2:7 Series to teach people discipleship. I was shocked to discover  how common it is that people are very active in church but do not  start the day with the Bible on their lap. Lifeway's MasterLife  Series is a similar product to the Navigators 2:7 Series.

2:7 Series: http://www.navpress.com/Store/Product/2200000000.html

Having worked at practicing a quiet time for three decades  plus now, I have noticed something. I have noticed a reoccurring  trend that repeats about every nine months.

About every nine months, I have to reinvent the quiet time.

Bible reading for geeks

Several years ago I was reading, but getting a little bored with  my reading. So, I reinvented the quiet time.

I am a bit of a geek. So, I decided it would be fun to start  reading my Bible off my hard drive. I have several translations of  the Bible on my laptop and I began reading the Bible on my laptop. I  then created a Microsoft Access database where I could record my  progress. Each day I would make a new entry. The database would  automatically insert the date, and a sequential number that I could  use to calculate the number of quiet times I had had over the last  week or month or year. I would record what I read and a little bit  about what I meant to me. Later, I added fields to record  reflections on what I was grateful for and what I wanted to get done  that day. This reinvention made quiet time come alive for me.

For about nine months. Then I had to reinvent the quiet time.

The One Year Bible

I spent some time at some Lifeway stores looking for a new Bible  Study that might rejuvenate my quiet time. I was looking for an  Experiencing God style Bible study when I stumbled onto the One Year  Bible. This is really cool. Someone taught me once that all  Scripture is inspired by God and is all equally inspired. But, it is  not all equally inspiring. If you doubt that, it has been too long  since you read Leviticus. With the One Year Bible, there is a New  Testament reading, an Old Testament reading, a Psalm and a Proverb  every day. So, on the day you are reading Leviticus, you are also  reading Luke. I knew that this would be a bit of a commitment for  me. I knew from my database plan that I was skipping some days here  and there--sometimes quite a few days. Reading through the Bible in  a year works out to about five chapters a day which is fine till you  get five days behind. Then you are really behind. I knew I was going  to have to step up to make this work. But, I figured I needed to  step up. So, I got the One Year Bible and it made Bible reading come  alive for me.

For about nine months.

Then I started getting bored again. I get bored easily. About  this time I got my first PDA--a Palm. Turns out, there is a One Year  Bible for the Palm. So, I got the One Year Bible for the Palm and  picked right up. Now I could read the Bible and be a geek again.  This made Bible reading come alive for me.

For about nine months. Then I started getting bored again.

The Dawson Plan

Last summer my oldest son, Dawson, said to me, "Dad, would you mind going to  El Paso with me to help me pick out a new Bible study?"  (This  is Dawson-speak for, "Dad, would you mind buying me a Bible Study,  pay for the gas to get there, and how about lunch while we are at  it?) It occurred to me that I was getting a little bored with the  plan I was on so I decided that whatever Bible study he picked out,  I would get two of them and would read along with  him. I have  been doing this, on and off, for some time now, but am getting a  little bored with this plan.

Time to reinvent the quiet time.

Listen to the Word

I am a very auditory learner. That is why I love listening to  content on audio. I have been on www.audible.com for years where  for $20 a month you can download and listen to two books a month.  For a guy who does as much traveling as I do, this is great. I find  that even driving around town I can listen to quite a few books just  while I am driving.

One of the books I downloaded was the NIV Audio Bible dramatized.  It retails for 41.99, but if you are a member of the club, you can  get it as one of your monthly downloads--in essence, for $10. Don't  you love a bargain?

So, here lately, I have been listening to the Word. It has made  Bible reading come alive for me. Here was a moment of insight I had  yesterday:

The more time I spend in the Word, the closer I feel to God.

The more time I spend in the Word, the closer I feel to God.

I said it twice for emphasis.

This particular Bible is cool because it is dramatized. That is,  when Mary says something, you hear it in a female voice. When the  text says, "They said. . ." you hear a chorus of voices.  When Goliath speaks, he has a really Goliath sounding voice. There is  even movie-style musical background appropriate to the mood of the  scene. Way cool. I don't start the day with my Bible on my lap any  more. I start the day with my IPOD in my hand and my ear buds in my  ears. For a guy who likes  to listen more than read, this is way-cool.

The question, part one

All this is introduction to this question: how are you doing  these days in terms of your quiet time? How are you doing these days  in spending time alone with God? Is it time to re-invent the quiet  time?

The question, part two

The next question is this: how is your group doing? How do you  think your Sunday School class is doing these days in terms of their  time alone with God? I think you ought to ask them. Ask them  regularly. Ask them often. Most of us need to be asked. Most of us  need to reinvent the quiet time on a regular basis and it helps if  the group we are apart of is regularly asking how we are doing.

Conclusion

The quiet time is the fundamental discipline of the Christian  life. How are you doing these days in terms of your time alone with  Jesus? Do you need to reinvent it?

If you would encourage your group to start their day with the  Bible on their lap, I'd encourage you to ask them on a regular basis  about how they are doing with their time alone with God.

Best Bible Studies for Quiet Time

What are some of your favorite Bible Studies  or other resources for Quiet Time? Share your  answer at http://sundayschool.ning.com/